In the mid-nineties we saw the idea of music promotions updated and repackaged, in the form of promotional CD–ROMS and DVDs, usually offering electronic games, software and video content. Most of these give-aways went from box to garbage, but some were received with popular interest, as when in 1996 when General Mills inserted a free CD-ROM into each box of Chex cereal, which contained Chex Quest, an electronic game created using ID software’s DOOM engine.
More recently, in 2002, General Mills plastered the cover of eight million boxes of cereal (including: Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Honey Nut Chex and Cinnamon Toast Crunch) with promotional DVDs touting Columbia titles "Bear in the Big Blue House" and "The Muppets."
However, the Kellogg/Disney/Pixar Industrial Complex fell short with 'Buzz Lightyear’s Exclusive Music CD', which was packaged in every box of their Buzz Blast cereal concoction. One online writer unfortunately described the promo as “3 awful songs extolling the virtues of Buzz Lightyear.”
The lesson here is that collateral produces sales when advertisers go beyond gimmicks to create truly engaging content.
Self-referential long-play jingles are ads, not content. No one finds them entertaining but the people who make them and kitsch collectors twenty years after the fact.
So why not offer real songs, current hits; or original non-promotional content featuring select artist/s (suitable to collaborative promotional experience with a given product); or even Branded Mixes? At least, then an advertiser can promote the content in the usual media outlets, downplaying its role as added value, up playing its role as a collectible.
One then arrives at the desired result: Built-in authenticity –not to mention guaranteed Word-Of-Mouth buzz you just can't get from any other so-called box prize. Johnny Quest PF Secret Decoder Rings exempted, but of course!
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Click on any link below to read all the articles in the four-part Fall 2006 AUDIO AS ADDED VALUE series exploring exploring new paradigms for Music Distribution:
1. The Compact Disc Is Dead
2. Saving The Music Industry One Brand at a Time
3. Self-Referential Jingles are not Content
4. Synergy = Energy